Home Sleep Apnea Testing in Vancouver, BC

Accessing Home Sleep Apnea Testing in Vancouver

Do you find yourself feeling constantly tired and groggy despite getting a full night's sleep? Do you frequently wake up gasping for air or find that you snore loudly throughout the night? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide, and is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep that can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. In this blog, we'll explore the use of home sleep apnea testing (HSAT) for the diagnosis of OSA in Canada, with a focus on Vancouver.

OSA is often characterized by loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, and daytime sleepiness [1]. Other symptoms may include morning headaches, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. While OSA can affect anyone, there are certain risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing the condition. These include obesity, smoking, alcohol use, and a family history of OSA [1].

There are numerous risks associated with untreated OSA, including serious consequences for your health. It can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also worsen existing conditions such as depression, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) [2]. Additionally, OSA can affect your quality of life by causing fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and poor concentration [2].

The Canadian Sleep Society (CSS), a non-profit organization that aims to promote awareness and understanding of sleep, has developed guidelines for the use of HSAT in the diagnosis of OSA. In many provinces, including British Columbia, HSAT is now the standard for the diagnosis of OSA [3]. Alberta, the neighbor to the east, adopted the use of HSAT many years ago. However, some provinces, such as Ontario, still require the use of polysomnography (PSG) to diagnose OSA. PSG is a more comprehensive test that involves spending a night in a sleep laboratory with monitoring equipment attached to your body. PSG is also recommended throughout Canada for those with a more complex medical history or if the results of the HSAT suggest additional investigation is necessary [3].

To determine whether you are at risk for OSA, healthcare providers may use validated assessment tools such as the STOP-BANG or the Berlin Questionnaire [4]. The STOP-BANG tool assesses your likelihood of having OSA based on factors such as snoring, age, and neck circumference [4]. The Berlin Questionnaire assesses your risk based on factors such as snoring, tiredness, and high blood pressure [4]. While it is important to discuss your concerns with a healthcare professional, and to undergo a formal assessment, assessment tools are available online.

If you suspect you may be suffering from OSA, it's important to seek medical attention. Fortunately, in British Columbia, HSAT is a covered service under the Medical Services Plan (MSP), so there are no out of pocket fees required. And, HSAT is a convenient and effective way to diagnose or rule-out OSA from the comfort of your own home

If you would like to learn more about obstructive sleep apnea, testing, and treatment options, please contact us, our team at Rebel Sleep Institute would love to hear from you. 

Rebel Sleep Institute

Rebel Sleep Institute is a Canadian owned and operated integrated network of fatigue centres dedicated to finding the best solutions for the treatment of fatigue related disorders, including snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and insomnia.

Rebel Sleep Institute Team Vancouver

Reference List:

  1. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2021). Sleep apnea. Retrieved from https://sleepeducation.org/sleep-disorders/obstructive-sleep-apnea/ ep-apnea
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Sleep apnea. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20377631
  3. Canadian Sleep Society. (2018). Position paper for diagnostic testing for adult obstructive sleep apnea: AASM and CSS Position Paper. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21037998/
  4. Chung, F., Abdullah, H. R., Liao, P., & STOP-Bang Questionnaire Collaborators. (2012). STOP-Bang questionnaire: a practical approach to screen for obstructive sleep apnea.   Chest, 141(3), 631-638. doi: 10.1378/chest.11-0903